We are truly thankful that you are considering bringing your kid(s) to the gathering.
It is essential that you look over this document in its entirety before deciding.
1. Keeping the children safe
2. Integrating the children into our ceremony and community
3. Supporting the parents
4. Creating structure so parents can support their children and still take part in the ceremony
The Service Team, Family & Allies
Everyone who comes to the gathering is on a service team.
The Family Allies Team exists to help with the 4 intentions at the top of this document.
Every parent that has brought a kid to the gathering must choose this service team, and will be asked to take shifts in the Tent of Dreaming. If there are two parents on site it is possible that one parent could be a part of another Service Team, if they stay involved with the Family & Allies Team.
We also encourage known members of the community who work with kids or who have kids of their own to sign up for this Service Team.
The Tent of Dreaming
We set up a place for kids to rest just outside of the fire circle. We make it very comfortable with pillows and blankets, and we decorate the outside often with branches. We create an altar together, often with the kids, on the outside of the tent.
This is NOT a place for adults to sleep. Anyone who is not a parent, not a part of the Service Team, or who is not on staff for the kids, is not permitted to sleep or go inside of the tent.
One parent and one ally will be present at all times, taking shifts through the night. We often do 3 or 4 shifts, depending on the number of attendees.
Dawn is the most crucial part of the day for holding Children and Parents at the fire circle.
Often in the past when parents would give all they had in the fire circle, their children would just be waking up. This is often a certain recipe for disaster. Finding teachers or caretakers, and scheduling them in for dawn shifts with the kids is essential. Anyone who is scheduled for a dawn shift, should not plan on doing the all night fire circle. They should potentially come for the opening, then go back to sleep and set an alarm. Or they can do a couple of hours and then get some down time. Otherwise, they can choose to sleep through most of the fire circle, and then join in for the last hour. This should not be done on the first night, as we often burn off what we call a lot of lead on the first night. It is important that everyone partake in the first few hours on the first night to be on a similar ride together.
Morning shifts with the kids can be split up between more than one person of course. At brunch, if not sooner, the kids will go back to be with their parents.
Seed Groups are how we categorize our workshops. They are loosely based around modalities like Music, Movement, Yoga and Medication, Healing/Bodywork, Children’s Programming, etc.
Having parents and additional people offer classes and play with the kids will help the adults dig into the classes and learn the fire circle culture.
Nature Art, Faery Art, Music, Dance and Altar Making are all examples of things we have offered for the kids in the past. We are hoping to find someone to teach rattle making this year.
Swing Set/Play Structure
There is a Play Structure near the dining hall that the kids often enjoy, burning up lots of hours on.
There is a safe enclosed shallow area on the beach front that the kids can swim in, depending on weather.
A Note About How the Fire Circle Works
If you have never been to the gathering before, you may be wondering how it is possible to stay up all night and miss so much sleep. The community sleeps from dawn until brunch, and again after dinner until the fire circle begins. The community has “quiet time” from after dinner until the fire is lit. These two sessions are essential. Also, the energy in the fire circle itself is amped up. It is amazing and somewhat inexplicable for some, how we can be so energized in the circle itself, during the night. Part of our magic is breaking through our barriers and becoming creative forces together.
When The Fire Circle Gets Intense
There are some times during our healing ceremony where we move a lot of symptomatic energy, there are moments of catharsis. Depending on the age of your child it could be best for you to move them out of the area and put them in the Tent of Dreaming or take a walk with them. Most often, the circle goes to these places when the kids are not present, but there have been instances when things start “heating up”, where the healing may be beyond the comprehension of the children. We do share powerful truths at times, and it can be deep, intense and profound. We often talk about the Lead that it takes to fuel the Alchemical process. Without real Lead, there is less Gold. It is also important for parents to find their way to get what they need, and frankly, especially for single parents, this has been a challenge for some folks in the past. We are always striving to get better at everything we do, and this is why we are sharing all of this information, so we can all support the ceremony together, and find a way to make the circle profound and available for everyone. It is best to know that if we stay with it, there should be multiple times for each of us to get what we need from the circle.
Here is an example day’s schedule from the last Forestdance Massachusetts in 2019:
Friday: Forgiveness, Ancestors, Surrender and Dissolution
- Navigating Through the Emotions: Kundalina Yoga w/ Emmanni Martine outside the Dining Hall
1:15-3pm Seed Group 1
- Music and Service Around the Fire (Fundamentals of Odd Meter) with Jed Blume Main Field Tent
- Seeing Me/Seeing You: A Radical Healing Justice + Ancestral Workshop w/ Pooja Prema “Other Side” of the Main Field
3:15-5:00pm Seed Group 2
- Loving Ourselves WELL: The Art and Science of Composting Personal Shame and Hopelessness into Cultural Empower-Meant™, w/ J Wow at the Amphitheater
- Belly Dance for the Fire Circle w Felicia Malachite at the Main Field
5:15pm Service Teams
6:30pm Circle of Thanks/Dinner
7:15pm Fire Circle Culture Discussion and Announcements
8pm Quiet Time
12am Fire Circle: Forgiveness, Ancestors, Surrender and Dissolution